03 June 2022

Tom's Milestone Birthday Surprise

Tom, a resident of Estia Health Strathalbyn received a surprise party for his milestone 100th birthday at Strathalbyn Railway Station.

Tom was previously a stationmaster at Strathalbyn Railway Station in the 1960’s and now lives at Estia Health Strathalbyn. Tom worked in the railways all his working life and shares many great stories about his time in the railways. He still recalls the name of the main horse that pulled the train carriages back in the 1940s in Naracoorte as it was his job to take care of them. He lived in the station master’s house with his family which is now an art gallery. The carpark for the gallery used to be his vegetable patch.

He also worked as a sound reader during his career. After a century Tom keeps his sharp mind, good memory, and knack for numbers, and is credited for his longevity to two things.

‘When I retired at 59, I said ‘I’m going to remain physically fit and mentally active’, and I’ve been active all my life,” he said. ”I played tennis till my boys beat me, then I gave it up”, played bridge which was “marvellous”, and bowls for 46 years, retiring at 86-years-old.
“People used to say it was an old man’s game, but you had to be fit to play a full afternoon,” he said.

The Strathalbyn Railway Station has a lot of fond memories for Tom and his family and we wanted Tom to relive those memories by celebrating Tom’s very special day at a place where he spent most of his time.

Tom spent the day sitting on the station next to the train looking towards the station. When invited him to come to sit with the other residents for some lunch, his response was “No, I am happy here looking up. I see the word Strathalbyn on the station that was once my home. I just want to sit here and recall those memories.”

His celebrations continued, with another planned gathering by his family at a local bowling club. Residents at Estia Health Strathalbyn also enjoyed another celebration for Tom’s birthday at the home.